Do hip protectors really work to prevent broken hip?

2 answers | Last updated: Dec 08, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My 83-year-old mother has osteoporosis, and I'm worried about her falling and fracturing her hip. I've seen hip protectors that claim to prevent fractures. Do they work?


Expert Answers

Jonathan Howland is chair of the Social and Behavioral Science Department at the Boston University School of Public Health.

There are a lot of "hip protectors" out there, but very few of them have been evaluated to determine whether they're actually effective. Of those that have been evaluated, the results are mixed.

I'd suggest talking to your mother's physician to see whether there's a particular hip protector he recommends. But I should caution you that in a recent survey asking physicians about hip protectors, most weren't familiar with them.

Researchers are continuing to look into the value of hip protectors, but the evaluation process is complicated because they're an unregulated medical device. There's currently an international group that's looking into setting national standards, but until the hip protector marketplace becomes better organized and there's better research on their effectiveness, I think you're better off asking your parent's physician what he thinks.

Community Answers

Comfihips answered...

When choosing a hip protector for your mom. You should look at a couple of different things:

  1. Has it been bio-mechanically tested. Meaning, has this hip protector been proven to reduce force from a fall below the hip fracture threshold.

  2. Has it been clinically tested. Meaning, does this hip protector actually have real world statistics to show it has reduced hip fractures from falls.

  3. Use your judgment, you want your mom to feel comfortable with this hip protector she is going to wear. Find her one that is affordable and not bulky. Also, look to see if they have a lot of testimonials verifying that this is a good product.

One of the companies I work for is Worldwide Ortho and they invented a hip protector: ComfiHips. I will invite you to look at ours and I can explain to you the differences of hip protectors if you would like.

You can see it at www.comfihips.com or give me a call at 813-766-5161 and I will try to help you the best way I can!

Bradley